And the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities unto a
land not inhabited
Where it would never be seen, and from whence it would never return more; and so was a proper type of Christ, who has borne all the sins of all his people in his own body on the cross, and all the punishment due unto them; and so has made full satisfaction for them, and has removed them from them, as far as the east is from the west, and out of the sight of avenging justice; so that when they are sought they shall not be found, nor shall they ever return unto them, or be brought against them any more; see ( Isaiah 53:12 ) ( 1 Peter 2:24 ) ( Zechariah 3:9 ) ( Psalms 103:12 ) ( Jeremiah 50:20 ) :
and he shall let go the goat in the wilderness;
that is, the man that was appointed to have him thither; and so the Targum of Jonathan,
``and the man shall let go the goat into the wilderness of Zuck; and the goat shall go upon the mountains of Beth Chadure (or Chadudo), and a tempestuous wind from the Lord shall drive him down, and he shall die.''The manner of conducting this whole affair was this; they made for him a causeway (i.e. for the man that had the goat committed to his care, to have it out of the court, and out of the city), because of the Babylonians, who would pluck him by the hair, and say, Get out, begone, get out, begone. The nobles of Jerusalem accompanied him to the first booth, for there were ten booths from Jerusalem to Zuck, which were ninety furlongs, seven and a half to every mile; at every (i.e. twelve miles) at every booth they said to him, Lo food, lo water, and they accompanied him from booth to booth, excepting the last of them; for there was not one went with him to Zuck, but stood afar off, and observed what he did: what did he do? he parted a scarlet line, half of it he bound to the rock, and half of it he bound between his horns (the goat's), and pushed him backwards, and he rolled and went down, but before he came half way down the mountain he was dashed to pieces; then he (the man) went and sat under the last booth until it was dark--they said to the high priest, the goat is got to the wilderness; but from whence did they know that the goat was got to the wilderness? they made watchtowers or beacons, and they waved linen cloths, and so knew when the goat was come to the Wilderness F11. But the Scripture is entirely silent about the death of this goat, though it no doubt died in the wilderness, only says that it was let go, and was at liberty to go where it would; intimating that the people of Israel were free from all their sins, and they should be no more seen nor remembered; typical of the deliverance and freedom of the people of God from all their sins by Christ. This affair was imitated by Satan among the Heathens, particularly the Egyptians, as has been observed by many out of Herodotus F12; who relates, that they used to imprecate many things upon the head of a beast slain for sacrifice, and then carried it to market, where were Grecian merchants, to whom they sold it; but if there were none, they cast it into the river, execrating the head after this manner, that if any evil was to befall either themselves that sacrificed, or all Egypt, it might be turned upon that head. And on account of this custom, which obtained among all the Egyptians, no one among them would ever taste the head of any animal; which Plutarch F13 also affirms, who says, that having made an execration upon the head of the sacrifice, and cut it off, formerly they cast it into the river, but now they give it to strangers. And a like custom obtained among other nations, as the Massilians and Grecians F14.
F11 Yoma, c. 6. sect. 4, 5, 6, 8.
F12 Euterpe, sive, l. 2. c. 39.
F13 De Iside & Osir.
F14 Vid. Outram. de Sacrificiis, l. 1. c. 22. sect. 14.